Public Records Search

Delaware Public Records

Delaware has a robust Freedom of Information Act that legally defines what constitutes a public record in the state, the government agency that maintains those records and who has access to them. This public records law covers vital records, government records and information related to government contractors.

It is important to note that there are exceptions that the state of Delaware makes as to what constitutes a public record. These include: public library records, social security numbers, medical histories, assembly email correspondence and anonymous charitable contributions.

Vital Records

You can request a copy of Delaware birth certificates, death certificates, adoptee records, marriage records and civil union records either in person, in writing, by phone or online. The Delaware Health and Social Services section includes a Division of Public Health subsection, where you can fill out one of six application forms, depending on the record you need, and submit it in person at one of the three locations in the state.

Jesse S. Cooper Building
417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 744-4556

University Office Plaza - Chopin Building
258 Chapman Road
Newark, DE 19702
(302) 283-7100

546 South Bedford Street
Georgetown, DE 19947
(302) 856-5574

If you want to apply for a record in writing, you need to send your vital records request to the Office of Vital Statistics in Dover, Kent county. Phone requests are made by calling 1-877-888-0248, a number that will connect you with VitalChek, an independent company that the state has authorized to provide vital record copies requested by phone and online. For online requests you need to go to the Delaware section at VitalChek. An important point to note is that you can pay by credit card for online and phone requests, but not for requests made in writing.

Criminal Records

For Delaware criminal records and background checks, you need to contact the State Bureau of Identification’s office in one of the three counties, bearing in mind that only in Kent county do you not need an appointment. Criminal background checks are performed based on fingerprints and you need to supply a valid ID containing a photo. Payment for the document can be made in cash, company checks, debit or credit cards, excluding American Express. You don’t have to collect the record in person, the respective county office of the Delaware State Police will mail it to you as soon as it is ready.

Court Records

If you need a court case reference, you need to go to the judicial case database for Delaware. There, you can search for and obtain records based on name of person or business entity, or by case ID. This online search is free of charge. An additional resource is the Delaware Judiciary, where you can see what records are excluded from the open access regime by type of court.

Business Records

For business entity records, you can perform an online search by name of company or its file number on the Delaware state website, in the Division of Corporations subsection of the Department of State section. The search will yield information including the date of its formation or incorporation, its registered agent name, contact details and location. For certificates of status, a certified or a plain copy of a filed document, you need to contact a Delaware remote agent, choosing from an alphabetical list on the webpage.

While the general information about a business entity is supplied free of charge, you can request more detailed information, such as the status of a business or further details, for a fee that is deducted automatically from your credit card when you access the information you need.

Property and Tax Records

These records are held by county authorities. In New Castle county the relevant agency is the New Castle County Recorder of Deeds in Wilmington. The agency is the custodian of records including deeds, deed restrictions, mortgages, easements, plot plans and federal tax liens. The computer-searchable records it keeps date back to 1945. In Sussex, the County Recorder of Deeds maintains records including deeds, plats, tax maps, surveys and related information, dating back all the way to 1952. In Kent county, the relevant agency is the Count Levy Court, which is custodian of all legal real estate-related records. The County Recorder of Deeds keeps records of property and financial statements going back to 1873. All three agencies offer online search capabilities, by name, parcel number, billing address, property description and by district.

Delaware Public Archives

Set up by the state’s General Assembly in 1905, this agency is one of the earliest public records bodies created in the country. It keeps state government records and county and municipal records, including legislative documents from the 18th century to the present day, case files from the state’s courts and all public papers of the state’s governors, a register of gubernatorial actions and other documents regarding the activities of the executive branch of the local government.

The Archives also keeps genealogical information, including federal census schedules for 1800 to 1880 and 1900 to 1920, plus a number of family histories and genealogies, and private genealogical collections. The agency is also the custodian of birth certificates that are more than 72 years old and death and marriage records that were issued 40 years ago and earlier. The Archives has a number of useful application forms, which you need to fill in depending on your purpose of accessing the agency’s resources.